The New York city-based artist creates elaborate works of art with beads, relying upon her formal training in painting for inspiration with color and composition. “A great deal of my work is three-dimensional painting, especially with this particular exhibition, Paradise Pieces,” Daniels said.
“Katherine Daniels: Paradise Pieces” runs at the Museum from Saturday, July 6 to Sunday, Sept. 8. The opening reception, which is free and open to all, will be held Sunday, July 14 from 1 to 3 p.m.
The 20 colorful beaded sculptures comprising Paradise Pieces will hang high from the Museum walls, forming an ethereal garden surrounded by ascending beaded white vines. The 3D quality of Daniels’ art affords Museum visitors the feeling of being immersed in the work. “You enter the room and feel like you’re in the middle of the picture,” Daniels said, explaining what she hopes visitors will experience from the exhibition. “It’s a piece of paradise, and dreamlike.”
Daniels’ years working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art surrounded by Asian and Islamic art deeply influenced her work. And, while they may sound like tongue twisters, the names of Daniels’ beaded sculptures are terms associated with heaven in different religions and paradise in different languages: Akanistha Arrangement (heaven in Tibetan Buddhism) and Swarga Loka (the Hindi name for heaven), for instance.
“The titles derived from words for paradise and heaven from many languages and religions are contemplation on how this idea extends deeply into human history and broadly across many cultures and religions,” Daniels noted. “These paradisiacal gardens represent the human need to counter our acts of destruction by creating and cultivating beauty.”
Her work is very labor intensive, as she builds dense compositions by stringing each bead onto a wire and then weaving the strips into a whole intricate form. One particularly large piece took about two years to finish.
Daniels grew up in Huntington, West Virginia. Bad at sports and dyslexic, Daniels was encouraged by her parents to pursue her love for art. She studied painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and later earned a Master’s Degree in painting from Johnson State College in Vermont.
Daniels won the 2012 Claire Weiss Emerging Artist Award. During the past two years, she has created six public art installations including ones at Joyce Kilmer Park and St. Nicholas Park. But perhaps her most challenging outdoor piece was her first: An installation woven into a 700-foot-long chain link fence in the Wall Street District in the biting January cold. Daniels will create her first outdoor beaded installation after work on the Hunterdon Art Museum’s new terrace is completed.